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It is with sadness that the family announces the passing of Mr. Edward McCaffrey with family by his side on Friday, January 5, 2024, at the age of 84 years. A Funeral Mass will take place on Thursday, January 11, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. held at the St. Hippolyte Roman Catholic Church, Vawn, SK with Rev. Father Barry Tkachuk as celebrant. Interment will be held at a later date at the Vawn Cemetery.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Eternal Memories Funeral Service & Crematorium - Trevor Watts Funeral Director.
My name is Dana and I am the daughter of Brenda and Paul and the oldest grandchild. My name is Cara and I am Brent and Debbie's daughter and the youngest grandchild.
On August 30th 1939 Poland prepared to defend itself against incoming Germany.
But Eddy will tell you that is not the most important moment of the day. As, on the evening of August 30th 1939, Edward Joseph McCaffrey was born to Philippe and Annie McCaffrey .
The youngest of 12, Eddy felt that since he was perfect, they had no need to have any more children after him. Being the youngest, his big sisters often took care of him and his brothers taught him the lay of the farm. After the chores and homework were done, Eddy and the family would listen to the Montreal Canadians games on the radio and play cards to pass the time.
Eddy’s love for cards began at an early age as he sat on his dad’s knee learning the refined moves of the games. Cards were an all-time favourite of the community with barouch ranking highly at Higgins’ Hotel, Len’s garage and Casavant’s store. Later into the 1960’s chit chat became the card game of choice.
Eddy had a special relationship with his older sisters, Laurette, Germaine, Pauline and Georgette as quite often they had to babysit young Eddy and Lorraine, while mamere and papere McCaffrey were out for the evening.
Of course, from time to time, these popular young ladies had some of the young men of the area as callers, whom Eddy recalls as ‘being decked out, wearing their grey pin-striped suits and well -polished shoes’ such was the style of the day.
To keep the secrets of their older sisters Eddy and Lorraine would collect the girls’ babysitting wage and promise to remain silent and not tell Mamere and Papere that the girls had boyfriends over while they were supposed to be babysitting.
School can be a mixture of the best or the worst times of one’s life. Eddy began in the original school located in the northeast corner of the schoolyard. One of our favourite stories from Eddy’s school days took place November 25, 1947 on Eddy’s older brother, Raymond’s wedding day, It seems that Eddy had an altercation with one of his teachers who had decided to keep him after school but that simply would not do. So Eight year old Eddy made his escape running the entire distance of 2 miles home through snowdrifts the height of telephone poles, jacketless and wearing only little leather boots on his feet.
When one grows up with rich experiences, they often try to duplicate those times. A favourite winter activity of Eddy’s was to ride on the Valliere dray. Eddy and other local boys would hop on George Valliere’s dray to which Big George would put the sleigh into a tail spin sending some of the passengers into the snowbank. Later on when Eddy had a team of horses he’d hitch them to a sleigh and would attempt to give us (his family) the same kind of ride that he experienced in his younger days.
Ball and hockey were always two important sports in Vawn and The boys won their share of games and tournaments and as Eddy told the stories – they seldom lost. This recollection may have been seen through rose-coloured glasses.
But in the season 1952-1953 the Vawn Cougars won the North-Line Championship with Eddy being one of the youngest members on the team.
When Eddy left school, he joined his brothers, Bert and George, on the farm. There was a large herd of cattle to be moved to the ranch in the Jackfish area for the winter months. Putting up hay began in June. Seeding was a 24-hour job until the crop was all in. When the hard work was over, Eddy and his friends would wander over to the local dances to unwind.
Eddy met June Freyman from Maidstone, at a Dance here in Vawn and although their stories don’t quite line up, they were a perfect match for each other and their romance lived on for 62 years . They welcomed their first daughter Brenda then followed Brent, Laurel And 5 years later Darcy.
As visionaries, Eddy and June decided to build a new house on Ma-mere’s quarter which has become the home of JEM FARMS. They pictured their home being the foundation for future memories with their kids, extended family and future grandchildren. As a family, they ran a mixed operation of grain and simmental cows. Eddy had the ability to make farm work fun for the McCaffrey kids. They would start the day at 6am -packing bales, chasing cattle, and picking roots working till noon and head to the lake.
Between cattle shows, kids sports, 4-H and family activities - Eddy kept just as busy as his kids. He received his pilot’s license, was one of the first farmers to be educated in artificial insemination to help grow the his purebred operation. And, one of the first farmers to grow canola in the area - he was even intereviewd by Kevin Hursh from CFQC TV’s agriculture report.
June and Eddy were very involved in the kids' lives and believed that family came first. They gave their kids roots but room to find their own path. Eddy moved Brenda up to Yellowknife, helped Laurel get set up at University, farmed alongside Brent and always welcomed Darcy back on his days off from the oil field.
Eddy loved his hometown so much that he has been involved with almost every event held in Vawn. Well ahead of his time in 1981, Eddy spear-headed a street dance in Vawn to fundraise for the community. With just under 1000 people coming from all over to join in on the activities, he remained involved in Vawn events through the years fixing the hockey rink, organizing the Vawn School reunion and mud volleyball.
Eddy was excited for his kids when they got married as he loved to host, plan and prep for events. While preparing for Laurel and Gordie’s wedding, Eddy took it upon himself to tell his soon to be son-in-law, that he was not cutting the grass correctly. Eddy suggested they should stop for lunch, but Gordie said that he was not hungry and insisted that they keep going and get the job done. Gordie proceeded to take his shirt off as it was a hot summer day. Eddy told Gordie not to throw his shirt on the ground as he might run over it with the mower… well
Moments later Eddy took his shirt off, threw it behind him on the ground and backed over it with the mower running. Gordie, witnessing Eddy not practicing what he just preached, decided that he was suddenly hungry and had to run home to tell Laurel what her dad just did. Eddy threw his ragged shirt in the corral and as luck would have it - that damn old ragged shirt would not disappear. It kept showing up year after year. We could never let Eddy live this story down.
When Dana arrived as the first grandchild, Eddy and June decided that they were not going to be grandma and grandpa. They would be Eddy and June. Soon after they welcomed Tehnille, then Tristan & Jetta, Jordan and finally Cara. Our Grandparents farm has been our second home for our entire lives. From spending every summer there and waking up there on Christmas day. It has been a place where not only did our parents grow up but us as well.
For the six of us cousins, the farm has been the place that we could run around, spend hours on the trampoline, help with cattle, watch the Montreal Canadians, race out to the chicken coop to collect eggs, a place where we earned our McCaffrey boxing gloves, built forts, ran equipment, and usually end up at picnic lake to have wiener roasts with our family. No matter how long the working day was for Eddy, he always had time to play kick the can, hide and seek or build a swing set for us.
Eddy loved to celebrate his birthday and anniversary. On one of Eddy and Junes wedding anniversaries, June was gone and Eddy came over to Laurel and Gordies to sit around the fire and visit with them and Tristan. Shortly after sitting down, the lemon gin came out, but before Laurel and Gordie were offered a drink, Tristan and Edward had polished the bottle, this called for the end of the evening as Eddy had realized he was feeling pretty good. Upon this realization, instead of asking Laurel or Gordie to spot him a ride home, he handed the keys to his good buddy Tristan and Tristan brought him to the farm. After getting back home, it was then that Laurel and Gordie also realized they let their 14 year old son, feeling just as good as his grandpa drive him home.
He and June believed in being at everything they could to support us all. From hockey games, basketball, volleyball, softball, band rehearsals, graduations, birthdays, moving us into college, welcoming great-grandchildren, and supervising the McCaffrey moving crew when we moved into our new homes. He rarely ever missed the biggest moments in our lives.
Through the 32 years of having him as our grandpa we have learned many things from him and he would want us to share his wisdom.
• Most things are a long way from the heart. When Tehnille broke her wrist one summer, Eddy pulled out this line and it has stuck with us. There will be things that get cut, hurt and broken but it is okay and things will heal as it is a long way from your heart. Your heart is the most valuable part of you. Plus your Grandpa and Uncles will always be there with hand saws and to cut off your cast for you.
• No plan is the best plan.
And this was always Eddy’s plan. A plan that kept us on our toes. Every member of our family will tell you a time where that eddy’s plan has changed each of our plans drastically. As an example, the plan could be that you are going out with your best friends after a day of working cows, but when you go to your truck the cows are now out and you need to round them up. The golden farm rule of shutting the gate was not oftened followed by Eddy.
• Dating advice “ Have you met someone you like better than yourself” We have all been asked this question at some point in our dating lives. He believed that you should always have high standards as you are important. So you need to have someone who doesn’t take away from you but adds to you and makes you want to be the best verison of yourself.
• Music and dancing will always make you feel better. Eddy loved to have the radio on and he could always be found singing or dancing to his favorite songs. He has told all of us that it is the secret to a happy marriage and as proof, there have been many mornings filled with Eddy dancing and singing with June.
• The best way to start the day is with Eggs and bacon, and beating your family at Kaiser This has been a McCaffrey family tradition for years. practically every morning, Eddy would continuously turn up the radio every three minutes until we were all up and sitting around the table. You knew it was going to be a good working day for Eddy when he won at cards - he would sing and laugh his way out the door after laying down his winning hand as the rest of us finished our coffee.
• Keep walking, keep moving forward. As a young boy, Eddy was diagnosed with Polio. His doctor told him that he needed to keep walking everyday - not matter what just keep moving forward and he truly believes this is what saved him. We often called Eddy the CAT as he has dodged death multiple times in his life but it was his ability to keep moving forward that contributed to his long life.
• Support your friends, family and community. Eddy believed in being in the know with his friends and family - often asking ”what's going on in your life” he truly believed in keeping people close, be there for them and they will be there when you need them. Eddy was right of course, as his network of family and friends were very supportive of him through his life and these last few years here in Vawn and Edam. For that we are all very thankful.
This past year has been filled with up and down days for Eddy. Although we knew his time was coming. For him to leave us on the coldest week of this winter did surprise us as he disliked the cold. After reminiscing with family, we believe he was ready to be with his parents and siblings. It’s fitting that Our Great uncle- Raymond the eldest of the 12 siblings passed away on January 4th 1982 and on January 5th 2024 the youngest and last of the 12 siblings left us.
The feeling we feel is not a long way from the heart. Today it lands on the heart as we bid farewell to a friend, father, husband, grandfather and great-grandfather, but we do so with immense gratitude for having shared a part of our lives with such an extraordinary soul. As the days continue on, we know that we will miss him, but there is happiness in knowing we will find him in one another.
His competitiveness in cards can be found in Brenda, his stubbornness and loyalty can be seen in Brent, his athletic ability can be found in Laurel, his heart can be seen in Darcy. His ability to turn something simple into something amazing can be found in Jordan. His humour and quick wit can be seen in Cara. His ability to always find the party or start the party can be spotted in Jetta, his love for being a Three Star can be seen when Tristan is on the ice. His blue eyes and protectiveness of family and friends can be found in Tehnille and his love for the farm has been passed to Dana.
Goodbyes were never really Eddy’s forte. When visits at the farm would come to
an end, there would never be any formal goodbyes. Routinely, after a good breakfast and a game of cards, Eddy would head outside to fill up our vehicle with gas and then take off to continue his chores just before we hit the road.
Just like in cards, Eddy has left his spot at the table, so instead of saying goodbye, it is only fair that we end this the same way he would finish the game. Never worry, never fear, for Robin Hood is right here.